Which program has carried the Mountain West?

The Broncos, Aztecs, and Bulldogs all think they run the conference. Are any of them right? Contact/Follow @aztecbreakdown With the talk of SDSU leaving the MW heating up, the debate over which university has been the best program has been started …

The Broncos, Aztecs, and Bulldogs all think they run the conference. Are any of them right?

Contact/Follow @aztecbreakdown

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With the talk of SDSU leaving the MW heating up, the debate over which university has been the best program has been started again with a new flair. Has SDSU really been the best program? Is that why they might leave while others are left behind? If the Aztecs have been the best then why don’t they have the most football championships? They haven’t even been the best in the west division, let alone the conference, so what gives?

First, let’s get one thing out of the way. While on-field success is a factor in conference realignment, it is by no means the primary factor. If it was, UCLA and their 54% winning percentage over the last 10 years wouldn’t be going to the Big 10. The same goes for Texas and their 55% winning percentage. Neither has been considered the top of their conference, but they have great brand names and market sizes, with good enough athletics, so they get the call up. So when fans of non-SDSU teams say they’re leaving due to location and not success, they’re sort-of right, but it’s not exactly the insult it is often intended to be. 

Many fans (including myself) would love to see some sort of promotion/relegation system similar to what European soccer leagues do. If that were to happen, likely each of Boise St, SDSU, and Fresno St. would get a call up, or at least would’ve gotten one previously. The point of this examination isn’t to diminish the accomplishments of any program, or to argue for who should get called up and who shouldn’t. The goal is simply to attempt to determine who has been the best in the conference in as objective a way as possible. 

To conduct the analysis 3 factors will be observed.

First is conference winning percentage over the last ten years in both football and basketball. Out of conference games absolutely matter, but they get harder to compare in terms of win percentage when one team is playing lowly New Mexico State level teams and the other is playing teams like UCF or Utah, so only conference games will be looked at to help balance the schedules.

Next will be championships won, once again in both football and basketball. In the end dominance is all about winning the championship, so a (supposedly) easy way to determine which program has been the best is to count the rings.

San Diego State ‘Intends To Resign From Mountain West,’ Per Reports

Lastly, appearances in championship games will be counted. This has a couple of effects. First, teams that make the championship game should be rewarded for making it that far as opposed to being treated like the bottom feeders of the conference. Secondly, basketball can get an unfair advantage since it has two championships each year, regular season and tournament. Counting only the championship games reduces the impact of the basketball regular season championships, while rewarding one for football, as to make the championship game you’ve had to win your division, whihc can be a form of regular season championship.

Z-scores will be taken to accurately compare the scores from all components can be boiled down into one number to be easy to compare.

Other sports could (and arguably should) be counted in this analysis. However, impacts on brand value, prestige, and media value come primarily from football and men’s basketball. Fans outside of your school won’t care if your track and field team won the championship this year. So until that changes, the focus is on football and men’s basketball.

In order to balance out the impact basketball has on things like prestige and media value, it will be weighted at 20% of the overall score, with football making up the other 80%.

Winning Percentage-

To no ones surprise, over the past 10 years Boise St. has dominated the conference in football. Their winning percentage of 83.1% is more than 11 points higher than the second place team, SDSU at 71.8%. Their Z-Score shows they’re about three times better than the 3rd place team. 

Basketball shows something similar, but with the top two schools flipped. San Diego St. has been by far the most dominant team in basketball in terms of winning percentage, leading by a similar amount of points despite having a lower number overall. Boise St. comes in at second.

When combined the results have Boise St. and SDSU neck and neck, with Boise St. getting the slight edge. Their dominance in football was slightly better, so their overall score was slightly better.

What really matters is winning championships though, right? Maybe trophies will help put some separation at the top.

San Diego St. has almost twice as many total championships as the next closest team in Boise St. However, the vast majority of them came in basketball, which is the less impactful sport. It can’t be discounted however, and even when giving basketball only 20% of the total credit, SDSU has been so dominant there while keeping up in football that they come out on top. Boise St. comes in second for tying for the most football championships and also winning a few basketball championships. Fresno St. comes in third, primarily on its football prowess. The Bulldogs don’t have a great winning percentage, but they seem to focus all they’re good into a few seasons.

It seems counting championships doesn’t help to separate teams. Maybe championship appearances will.

San Diego St. once again takes the lead by having almost twice as many appearances in championship games as the second-place team in Boise St. There are three certainties in life. Death, taxes, and the Aztecs making an appearance in the conference tournament final for basketball.

Boise St. on the other hand has been very good in football, making the championship game six times. The total helps them gain separation from Fresno St. who has “only” made it five times.

When adjusting everything 80/20 Boise St. comes out on top this time. Football is worth more, and their dominance in football is enough to put them over the top despite having fewer appearances overall. San Diego St. and Fresno St. tie for second, a fact that likely irks both fan bases.

Utah St. is the most balanced, but their lack of consistent dominance leaves them behind the top three.

So, which program has been the best? Can any program claim they’ve “carried” the conference?

When it comes to combining the top two sports, not really. Boise St. has been the best in football, by a pretty healthy margin. Fresno St. likely comes in second with SDSU close behind due to being above average more consistently. Neither Boise St. nor Fresno St. have matched San Diego St. in terms of basketball though. It’s telling that the top two teams in every measure were the same though.

When combining everything Boise St. comes out as slightly better than San Diego St. Their football dominance really carries them. It is a very slim margin though. It seems fair to call either team the flagship program, especially if one switch between sports. That’s not the answer fans want, but looking at the numbers it’s the most accurate one.

Fresno St. has some work to do to catch up, and none of the other programs really come close. UNLV, despite the bravado of their fans, comes in last.

Other factors could also be added in of course. Non-conference performance could play a role. How should one weight Boise State’s Fiesta bowl win in 2014? Or SDSU’s run to the title game this past March Madness? Overall those things likely don’t change much.

The fact of the matter is that over the past decade, Boise St. and San Diego St. have been programs 1A and 1B in the conference. Utah St. has been making moves recently but have a long way to go. Fresno St. fans like to talk big, and have some ground to stand on, just not as much as they need. UNLV fans also like to talk big but their programs don’t back it up.

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Calling All Writers: Come Write For Mountain West Wire!

Are you a writer with a passion for Mountain West Conference athletics? If so, Mountain West Wire is looking for you.

Calling All Writers: Come Write For Mountain West Wire!

Are you a writer with a passion for Mountain West Conference athletics? If so, we’re looking for you.

Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

We could use your help.

Hello everyone! Since we started this venture back in 2017, we here at Mountain West Wire have striven to provide the absolute best coverage of Mountain West athletics you’ll find anywhere. Thankfully, our readers have made it all worthwhile, by letting us know what they want while following us on Twitter and Facebook.

Now, we’re looking to get better and we need you to do it.

Mountain West Wire needs more writers to provide coverage of certain teams so, if you’re interested in joining our ranks, please send a cover letter stating your particular interest and prior writing experience, as well as a writing sample of 300 to 500 words, to mattkenerly333@gmail.com and JeremyMauss@gmail.com. Aspiring journalists and writers of color are especially encouraged to submit their work.

This position has a little bit of money involved which is based on page views. Think of it like a few extra bucks for lunch or drinks, keeping in mind that the more you’d like to get involved, the more views you could generate for your work.

In the past, a few of our writers have gone on to bigger and better things with newspapers, radio stations, digital platforms, and other publications. If you want to use this opportunity to brush up on your writing skills and get noticed, we can provide that. If you want to have some fun scratching an itch for your fandom, this is an outlet for that, too.

Our work has been featured on ESPN, CBS Sports, Yahoo!, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, Rotoworld, and other major publications.

Here are the positions we’d like to fill:

College Football

The gridiron is our bread and butter, so with the 2022 season not too far away, we’d be happy to have you join our ranks and write about the season that never truly ends.

Our current priorities are finding writers to cover San Diego State and UNLV. However, if you have an interest in any teams not mentioned here, we’re also open to that because more coverage is always better.

College Basketball

Hoops season is year-round, as well, so help us cover the unpredictable race to the top.

We’re especially interested in finding writers to cover Air Force, Boise State, Fresno State, San Jose State, UNLV, and Wyoming. As with football, though, if you don’t see a team mentioned here, don’t hesitate to reach out.


We don’t typically dive too deeply into recruiting but, if that’s your thing, it would provide some content to which we don’t usually attend. Football and basketball are the go-to sports in this area.

Pro Sports

Obviously, there are a lot of pros who got their start in the Mountain West, so if you want to give updates on MLB, NFL, NBA or other pros from the league, that would be a different angle we like to cover.

We also want to cover the various pro drafts throughout the year, so if you’re a film junkie, most interested in examining how the conference’s best will make the jump, we’d be happy to have that.


Want to cover Olympic sports within the Mountain West? Now’s your chance.

This includes things like Mountain West baseball and softball, women’s basketball, soccer, track and field or any of the conference’s varsity other sports. Whether you want to focus on one team or the whole conference, let us know!

Additionally, e-sports has been a recent addition to the conference, too. Not many people write about collegiate e-sports at the moment, so this could be a chance to find a niche and provide some exposure to those in the Mountain West who are participating.

Finally, we could also use someone with an interest in creating short videos to embed in each post so, if that’s your field of expertise, you can contact us about that.

School/topic not listed? If your interest isn’t mentioned above, we still want to hear from you. It takes a team to provide the peak of Mountain West Conference coverage, so join us today!

This Week In Boise State Basketball: 2/26/2023

Recap of this week for the Broncos.

This Week In Boise State Basketball: 2/26/2023

Split Two Games This Week

Contact/Follow @Michaelbraydaly & @MWCwire

Recap of Boise State’s Week 16

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In the penultimate week of the regular season, Boise State started the week with a win over New Mexico and ended the week with a road loss at San Jose State.

Wednesday’s home win against New Mexico came at the right time for the Broncos. Boise State needed the win to avoid a season sweep against New Mexico and remain in contention for a spot in the NCAA Tournament.

Boise State guard Max Rice carried the Broncos with 30 points and seven rebounds against the Lobos. Rice registered his career-high in points on Wednesday. His previous career-high in points was 29 points against Nevada on Jan. 17.

Following Wednesday’s win, Boise State entered Saturday’s matchup against San Jose State on a four-game winning streak. Unfortunately for the Broncos, that winning streak came to an end with a 74-68 loss to the Spartans.

Boise State was in control for most of the game until a collapse ensued in the final five minutes of the game. Boise State led by as much as 12 points with more than eight minutes left in the game. San Jose State closed the gap and managed to force overtime.

At the start of the overtime period, San Jose State took a quick lead and never looked back. The overtime loss sent Boise State to a 22-7 record.

As Week 17 approaches, the Broncos have two regular season games remaining against San Diego State on Tuesday and Utah State in Saturday’s season finale.

Former Fresno State Star Aaron Judge Wins AL MVP Award

Former Fresno State Star Aaron Judge Wins MLB’s MVP Award Judge caps a big year with hardware Contact/Follow @MWCwire Well deserved win Aaron Judge, the former Fresno State Bulldog was just named MVP, completing a season so spectacular that the word …

Former Fresno State Star Aaron Judge Wins MLB’s MVP Award

Judge caps a big year with hardware

Contact/Follow @MWCwire

Well deserved win

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Aaron Judge, the former Fresno State Bulldog was just named MVP, completing a season so spectacular that the word “historic” might even be a bit of an understatement  

With 28 first-place votes and two second-place votes, the near-unanimous MVP left little doubt about his value this season. But this wasn’t just any MVP year. Judge started the season by taking a high-stakes flyer on himself, then, facing one of the most formidable opponents baseball has ever seen, shattered records on his way to the MVP award. 

Judge, a northern-California native, played three seasons for the Bulldogs. While there, he was a three-time first-team all-conference player and he helped guide Fresno State from the WAC into the Mountain West before being drafted by the New York Yankees with the 32nd pick of the 2013 draft.  

His habit of collecting accolades began as a freshman. In his debut season, Judge was named a Freshman All-American, WAC Freshman of the Year, and made first-team All-WAC. From there, hardware became habit. Over the course of his next two campaigns, he participated in and won the College Home Run Derby, led his team to a WAC tournament championship, was named first-team All-WAC for a second time, then first-team All-WAC. 

He earned all that hardware by batting .385 as a freshman, .332 as a sophomore, and .369 as a junior, with a combined 18 home runs, 39 RBIs, 205 hits, 36 stolen bases, 130 runs, and 41 doubles. 

Big numbers have always defined Judge’s career, but his career is about to be defined by the biggest number of all. This offseason, Judge is set to sign a contract that is projected to more than double his current salary. Judge is about to land the biggest number of his career.

Judge isn’t allowed to gamble on sports, but by way of salary negotiations, he placed a massive wager on himself. He is still waiting to cash out, but it appears he hit the jackpot. 

Prior to his MVP season, Judge was offered a seven-year, $213.5 million contract extension by the Yankees. This would have given him the second-highest annual salary of any outfielder in the league. Judge didn’t think it was enough. 

In an age of increasing player empowerment, it would not be hard to imagine a scenario in which a jaded all-star refuses to play for his current team on the basis of compensation disagreements and sits out for some or most of a contract year. Instead, Judge simply declined the offer and paused negotiations during the season. He didn’t stop there, though. Then, set out with vengeance, on a mission to show the Yankees, and the other 29 teams, why he is worth the cash. 

Although the Yankees indicated that they would be willing to continue talks through the season, Judge refused. “This is the deadline,’’ Judge said at the time, according to USA TODAY. “I don’t want to be a distraction during the year. We got so many things to focus on. A lot of good things are happening here. I don’t want it to be a distraction for my teammates.’’ So, negotiations stopped, and the attention turned to Judge’s performance. 

Air Force Baseball: Falcons Headed To Austin For Texas Regional

The Falcons clinched their first Mountain West baseball title ever and now head deep into the heart of Texas for its NCAA regional.

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Air Force Baseball: Falcons Headed To Austin For Texas Regional

The Falcons clinched their first Mountain West baseball title ever and now head deep into the heart of Texas for its NCAA regional.

Contact/Follow @MWCwire

A tough draw.

The Air Force Falcons shocked the college baseball world by rolling through the Mountain West baseball tournament as its four-seed, scoring its first bid in a NCAA regional since 1969. Now, they know their destination.

Air Force, with a record of 30-27, is headed to Austin, where the Texas Longhorns will host the 37th regional in its program’s history. Interestingly, this is not the Falcons’ first trip to Texas this season, either, as they put up 24 runs in splitting two games with the Longhorns back in April.

Texas is the ninth overall seed in the 64-team tournament, earned by virtue of finishing the year as the Big 12 runners-up, compiling a 42-19 record and ranking #19 according to D1Baseball.com.

Joining Air Force in the Texas regional is Conference USA champion Louisiana Tech, who won its tournament with a pair of walk-off wins and will make its second straight postseason appearance after compiling a 42-19 record, and 34-22-1 Dallas Baptist of the Missouri Valley Conference, which will appear in its eighth straight regional.

The Texas regional will begin on Friday afternoon at 12:00 PM MT/11:00 AM PT, with the first game between Texas and Air Force to be broadcast on the Longhorn Network. Louisiana Tech and Dallas Baptist will play later that same day, at 5:00 PM MT/4:00 PM PT, on ESPN+.

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Major League Baseball Got You Down? Try The Mountain West.

MLB and Rob Manfred might be canceling games, but Mountain West baseball is already in full swing with plenty of stories to follow.

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Major League Baseball Got You Down? Try The Mountain West.

MLB and Rob Manfred might be canceling games, but Mountain West baseball is already in full swing with plenty of stories to follow.

Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

The national pastime is alive and well on college diamonds.

You might think it’s a terrible time to be a baseball fan in America.

This afternoon, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred announced the cancelation of Opening Day and the rest of the 2022 season’s first two series, a cut necessitated (at least from the team owners’ point of view) by the inability to resolve the league’s ongoing lockout, drawing ire from both the MLB Players Association and fans alike. In a lot of ways, it isn’t a great time to be a baseball fan in America… but then college baseball season began about a week and a half ago.

Mountain West football and Mountain West basketball have had, are having, hellacious campaigns of their own, so while college baseball doesn’t usually capture quite the same level of regional and national attention, the Mountain West is as good a bet as any to fill the breach left in MLB’s wake.

So why should you pay attention? Here are a handful of the most compelling reasons.

Paul Skenes

The Air Force Falcons haven’t made an NCAA tournament appearance since 1969, but their opponents will tell you just how much of a headache they can be to face. Under manager Mike Kazlausky, now in his 13th year with the program, Air Force has finished .500 or better in four of the last five full seasons (not counting the curtailed 2020 campaign) and had four players selected in the MLB Draft. Paul Skenes, a Golden Spikes semifinalist in 2021, could be number five.

A two-way player who pitches and plays catcher — eat your heart out, Brendan McKay — Skenes hit .410 last spring with 11 home runs and paced the Mountain West with 131 total bases. On the mound, he had a 2.70 ERA and struck out 30 hitters in 26.2 innings, so while he’s off to a bit of a slow start in this young season, you never know when he could break out and do something few players in the country can accomplish.

A new era in New Mexico

Ray Birmingham is synonymous with baseball in New Mexico, but after 43 years, including 14 years (and 414 wins) with the Lobos, he retired after the 2021 and now seems to enjoy extolling the virtues of the Land of Enchantment.

New head coach Tod Brown obviously has some big shoes to fill, but he’s familiar with what it takes to succeed, too, with 341 wins in 14 years at North Dakota State. Other new arrivals, like senior infielder Kamron Willman (Kansas State transfer) and sophomore outfielder Jeffrey David (Dallas Baptist) have also gotten off to strong starts, so the Lobos may not be too far away from claiming their first conference crown since 2017.

Hunter Dorraugh

North Carolina State’s Tommy White has become a Twitter sensation with nine home runs in the Wolfpack’s first eight games, but if you look at the national leaderboard you’ll notice that San Jose State outfielder Hunter Dorraugh is right on his tail for the moment.

After transferring to the program from Sacramento State, Dorraugh is hitting .357 with seven home runs for the Spartans through their first eight games. Should we have seen this coming? After all, his first career hit with the Hornets back in 2020 was a dinger, too, so while it remains to be seen if he can keep this up, his early season performance definitely deserves more attention.

The Nevada Wolf Pack

TJ Bruce’s squad didn’t make much headway in their NCAA regional appearance last spring, but that didn’t dissuade voters from selecting the Wolf Pack as the Mountain West’s overwhelming preseason favorite to win the conference once again.

That’s because Nevada arguably boasts the Mountain West’s best trio of bats in infielders Joshua Zamora and Tyler Bosetti and outfielder Dario Gomez, all of whom were all-conference selections in 2021. That group, along with sophomore Jacob Stinson, could easily power Nevada back to the top.

It’s baseball that’s free to stream and cheap to go see in person

If you’re so inclined, just keep the Mountain West baseball schedule handy because, as of March 1, you can stream at least one game nearly every single day. As we all know, free is hard to beat!

Better yet, it’s free to go see Air Force baseball live. It costs five dollars at New Mexico (and it’s free if you’re a student), six dollars at San Diego State and UNLV if you pay in advance ($10 day off), eight dollars for a ticket at Nevada, and ten dollars at Fresno State. It never hurts to support local and give each program a shot in the arm by being there live.

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Mountain West Conference Suspends Spring Athletic Events Indefinitely

The coronavirus’s impact on the American sports landscape finally reaches the Mountain West.

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Mountain West Conference Suspends Spring Athletic Events Indefinitely

The coronavirus’s impact on the American sports landscape finally reaches the Mountain West.

Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire

The conference moves quickly to stay safe.

Yesterday, the coronavirus made its biggest mark on American pop culture to date, touching everything from Tom Hanks to the NBA. Today, the Mountain West Conference made a move to be proactive that reflects many of the decisions being made elsewhere on the sports landscape.

As of today, all MWC sporting events have been postponed. In a press release put out by associate commissioner Javan Hedlund, exceptions will be made for those teams who are currently on the road, but it touches a number of sports like baseball and softball.

This decision by the conference also exempts teams who have qualified for an NCAA championship like Utah State and San Diego State men’s basketball or Boise State women’s basketball. However, other projected top seeds like Duke have preemptively tapped the brakes on participating in the men’s tourney, putting an on-time presentation in doubt:

The statement also leaves the status of Mountain West football’s spring games and recruiting processes at the discretion of each university. Some programs like Fresno State have not announced a formal response to COVID-19, but others like New Mexico have taken steps to close practices and Pro Day to the public at present, presumably with an eye on periodic reassessment before the spring game on April 4:

We will keep you updated on any further coronavirus-related developments.

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Mountain West Basketball Transfer Game: Where Are They Now?

Where did some of your favorite players end up? In short the AAC, AEC, Big East, Big Sky, Big Ten, Big West C-USA, Division 2 & 3, Horizon, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, MVC, NAIA, NJCAA, PAC-12, RMAC, SEC, Southland, Summit, SWAC, WAC Contact/Follow …

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Where did some of your favorite players end up? 

In short the AAC, AEC, Big East, Big Sky, Big Ten, Big West C-USA, Division 2 & 3, Horizon, MAAC, MAC, MEAC, MVC, NAIA, NJCAA, PAC-12, RMAC, SEC, Southland, Summit, SWAC, WAC 

Contact/Follow @HardwoodTalk & @MWCwire

What are past Mountain West Players up to this season?

College basketball’s allure comes with its many different facets and components. Things like recruiting, geographic rivalries and a tournament that produces Cinderella-like stories for underdog schools in the nooks and crannies of this great country, it’s all so great.

But there are also some things we would consider changing if left up to us, like maybe an expanded tournament field (maybe), better metrics for grading tournament teams, hardship waivers have been an issue and NCAA rulings when it comes to eligibility. Sometimes you take what you can get, but an aspect of college basketball that always comes with mixed emotions is the transferring of players. This is something that can go either way for fans as we get excited when our teams bring guys in but wish others would have stayed (for the most part).

Now guys transfer for a multitude of reasons and fans should never hold grudges against 18-24-year-old individuals who at the end of the day have the right to look for the best opportunity for themselves. Some guys get buried on the bench by increased depth, move to be closer to home or find opportunities at larger institutions where they can play against a higher level of talent on television on a weekly basis. It’s okay, and remember these things happen.

There are also coaching changes that occur in every conference across the country, which bring a level of turnover inside a program that can only be matched by corporate takeovers. Never the less if you are like me and glance at box scores, check-in on the occasional American East game, notice offers to familiar names on JUCO sites or find yourself genuinely curious asking yourself questions like, “what happened to that guy?” or “I wonder how he is doing?”, then this list is for you.

There are other former Mountain West players out their with college eligibility but this list aims at finding the guys with a nice internet trail and letting you know how they’re doing on their new team.

Things to note:

  • There may be a few transfers out there sitting out the 2019-2020 season due to transfer rules. These guys won’t be reflected here, that’s a topic for another day.
  • If a player still has college eligibility but maybe stopped playing college basketball all together or their trail ran cold, they aren’t listed below.
  • If a player is still playing but was dismissed from a team and didn’t transfer, they were also left off of this list.
  • Lastly you won’t see guys who left teams to turn pro with college eligibility still remaining either.

Now let’s get to it.